The Government is set to speed up review into gambling sponsorship in football as clubs fear stricter restrictions could be implemented
- The Department for Culture, Media and Sport are reviewing betting restrictions
- Clubs are worried stricter ruled could be put in place on their lucrative deals
- The Government are set to issue a hurry-up, hoping for an answer by 2021-22
Football clubs expect to learn the extent of new restrictions on lucrative gambling sponsorship deals by next season as the Government accelerate their crucial betting review.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport are in the midst of an audit into UK gambling regulations, which will have major ramifications on the historic relationship between football and gambling firms.
The Government are expected to initiate a ‘call for evidence’ from gambling firms and other associated organisations – such as the Premier League and EFL – as early as this week.
Football has a long partnership with betting, with the likes of Betway sponsoring West Ham
The Government are currently looking into the sports close ties to the gambling industry
Sportsmail understands that process, which will allow betting companies to have their say on the review, is expected to last around three months.
There is optimism among clubs the review will be completed in time for the 2021-22 campaign, meaning they will have a clearer picture of where they stand with regards to sponsorship deals. There is a major concern the shake-up will implement stringent restrictions on the relationship between betting advertising and sport.
Indeed, one idea on the table is a blanket ban on clubs having betting firms as their main shirt sponsors.
Firms will use the call for evidence process as a means to argue why such strict measures are unnecessary, with many companies planning to use discussions with the Government to outline how they plan to self-regulate and establish a safer environment for customers.
Nevertheless, the review appears likely to have significant consequences on the domestic football scene and clubs want clarification so they can plan accordingly.
Eight of the 20 Premier League clubs that have shirt sponsorship contracts with betting companies.
A host of EFL clubs also have relationships with gambling firms. Those deals outside the top-flight – which total around £40million – are particularly important now given the financial difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic.
In an interview with Sportsmail last month, Neil Banbury, managing director of 32Red which sponsors Derby, Preston and Rangers said: ‘As long as the Government review brings in views from across the spectrum that is evidence-based and it’s focused on tackling the real issues the industry has then hopeful we can move to a better position.’
‘Some companies have called for the end of sponsorship. But we are coming from place that we see it as a good opportunity to do some really good and visible work. We have huge duty to improve our side of the industry.’